Concerns about impaired air quality and traffic were raised by community members at an informational hearing about an air permit for a permanent rock crusher at the Travis Materials FM 969 mine on March 7.

The mine is on the former site of Barton Hill Farms.

To install a rock crusher on the facility, Travis Materials must receive a permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. However, locals who own neighboring plots of land are concerned about the increased dust and noise in the area.

The gist

The plant is one of six mines and two rock-crushing plants along FM 969, Green Gate Farms co-owner Skip Connett said. The meeting was the first opportunity for formal comment by the public.

The TCEQ will make the final decision on the permit within 30 days of the meeting.

The details

The rock crusher is limited to 200 tons per hour and 2,640 work hours a year. The entire mine would function up to one hour before sunrise and after sunset, said Aaron Hertz, the environmental consultant for Travis Materials, at the March 7 meeting.

If a company fails the requirements listed in the permit, violations incurring monetary fees and a poor rating will be issued. The permit must be renewed every 10 years.

“[Travis Materials] do belong to the community, and they do want to try to be good neighbors as well,” Hertz said.

Hertz said additional regulations include:
  • Stock piles and roads would be watered to offset dust.
  • No water would be pumped into or out of the Colorado River for the process.
  • The rock crusher would generally operate once a month.
What they’re saying

While no previous violations were found for the specific mine, Travis Materials received six violations at the company's 2016 FM 969, Elgin, location in 2018. The same location received a violation in May 2020 for "failure to prevent an unauthorized discharge" into the Colorado River. All violations are resolved at this time.

The neighborhood hopes to develop an advisory council to bring together local stakeholders, environmental experts and county officials, Connett said.

"We were really happy with the meeting. We were happy with the turnout," Connett said. "I think it shows just how upset people are and how little opportunity they have had to be part of the conversation or even be given notice."

Concerns regarding the Barton Hills cemetery housing 29 graves were also raised at the meeting. Noise concerns and increased traffic along the unpaved Wilbarger Bend Road were other points mentioned at the meeting by those living near the site.